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On the ramp at Incirlik AB, Turkey 20 March 1971 Copyright: Greg Lasley
Source: contributed to C141 Heaven by Greg Lasley

On the ramp at Incirlik AB, Turkey 20 March 1971 Copyright: Greg Lasley
Source: contributed to C141 Heaven by Greg Lasley


On 28 August, 1976 this aircraft was destroyed in a weather related accident. After crossing the Atlantic ocean 67-0006 entered an area of thunderstorms and very heavy rains. It encountered severe turbulence and was destroyed in-flight. There were 14 crew members and 4 passengers on the aircraft..none survived.

The aircraft weather radar had been written up nine times during previous flights as being less than 100%, including a write up by the crew on the flight immediately preceding this crash that the radar was 'extremely week and unusable'. Maintenance performed a ground check of the radar before its last flight and signed off 'Ops Checks OK'. After takeoff, the crew determined the radar was still inoperative but decided to continue on to their destination, as the destination weather forecast at takeoff indicated no severe weather in the area.

The crew had trouble obtaining updated weather forecasts while crossing the Atlantic, and not only was their radar inoperative, but the primary radar on the ground was also acting up, so ATC was unable to provide weather avoidance information to help the crew. The ground controller reported to the crew "I can't see any way through it all".

Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft fall out of the clouds, already in pieces.

The burning crash site of 0006.
Source:USAF from an an unknown English source


This next series of photos was sent to C141Heaven in September 2005 by some folks who found a few slide trays full of slides that were used in crew training classes at Altus. They were cleaning out a desk and stumbled across these materials and sent them in for inclusion on the site.

In a terrible coincidence, another C-141, 67-0008, crashed the same day at Sonderstrom AB, Greenland.





These are some aerial views of the crash site memorial, very near to where the crash actually happened. You can check out the surrounding area in Bing Maps or Google Earth. The coordinates are : 52.5957 N, 0.035805 W


On May 25th, 2006, I received the following email from Noel Staples.



I recently took this photograph of the memorial stone commemorating the loss of Aircraft 67-0006 with all crew and passengers on 28 Aug 1976 in isolated fenland near the Cambridgeshire village of Thorney Toll in the UK.

Noel Staples

PS: I live in Peterborough not far from the crash site and often follow the remote road where the crash site is because it is so peaceful and free of traffic, although exceedingly bumpy.

In December 2008 C141Heaven received the following note from Francis Tower:

I was the weather forecaster on duty 28 Aug, 1976 when both 67-0008 and 67-0006 crashed. We first got the call on 0008 and began our checklists for an aircraft accident. As you can imagine, it got very busy and noisy. It seem like 45 minutes later one of the flight controllers got a call regarding 0006. He shouted out to the commander that he has a report of a C141 crash. The commander shouted back "We already have the Greenland crash".

"Sir", he replied, this one is in England".

As the weather flight follower it was my job to keep the flight updated on enroute weather. So close to England I wasn't able to contact the aircraft through Mildenhall and update the weather forecast.

To this day I feel sorrow for all crew and passengers on both flights.

Concerning 0008, the speculation in the command post from the experienced C141 pilots was that flying into Sondrestrom and not having landed there before the pilots view (because of the hump in the runway) was of the runway suddenly ending at the base of the mountains. The crew could have panicked and started a go around with insufficient air speed to clear the enclosing mountains.

Francis Tower
Capt, USAF Ret.

In early September, 2011, C141Heaven received this scan of an article from the Peterborough Evening Telegragh from Martin Hall. Martin lives in Great Britain just a few miles from the site of the crash of 67-0006, which happened 35 years ago.





Note the opening paragraph ... referring the the C-141 as a "small jet aircraft". Also, the middle column says "... a 27,000 pound cargo load restricted the number of people on board." [Don't believe everything you read in the papers].

Earlier in the week, Richard Humphrey, also sent two links with photos of the site of the crash:

Link #1 †††††† Link #2


GEOGRAPH is an interesting site whose aim is to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland. The site generously allows re-posting of it's photos (with proper attributions). Here's a series of them.


© Copyright Richard Humphrey

Entrance to the Memorial Site
© Copyright Richard Humphrey

© Copyright Richard Humphrey

© Copyright Ian Simmons

Thorney Dyke Road ... near the memorial site
© Copyright Julian Dowse

© Copyright Tony Bennett

On September 9th, 2011 C141Heaven received the following note from Ian Simmons:

I was in the process of taking my boat downriver to Wisbech from Peterborough a journey I had done many times before. When I started out the weather was fine, a warm sunny day and as I was going to ride my bicycle back, a distance of 20 miles I was not taking a coat or any waterproofs.

After about 7 miles of the way it started to rain so I had to lash up some ropes to the rudder so I could steer the boat sitting under the canvas cuddy whilst facing backwards safe in the knowledge that no boats would be coming against the tide the other way. It was for this reason alone that I witnessed the event.

Had I taken my waterproofs I would have been facing the other way. It started to thunder and lightning but this did not bother me too much, indeed it was quite nice sitting there nice and dry.

Shortly after passing the Thorney Toll pumping station I saw a fireball rising up from behind the north bank. It looked like the rising sun at first then mushroomed into an orange ball of fire. Initially I thought that the lightning had perhaps struck a fuel storage tank but then I saw anther smaller fireball dropping from the sky. I could hear no sound above the engine or rain hammering on the canvas. I was now somewhat concerned but I didn't stop as not only did I have no waterproofs but no wellington boots to wade through the bankside mud.

It wasn't until I was riding my bike home later and saw the US military trucks that I had any idea what really happened.

On September 9th, 2012 C141Heaven received the following note from Nigel Lettice, a former firefighter who responded to the crash of 67-0006 in the UK on 28 Aug 1976.

I came across your site whilst I was looking for any information regarding the above crash.

I wondered if the following might be of some interest to you.

That August bank holiday weekend, I was on duty with the rest of the members of White Watch at Dogsthorpe Fire Station in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. I was on kitchen duties that day and we had finished the main meal and I was about to serve up the pudding when we got a call to an aircraft in flames on the outskirts of Thorney.

I had only been in the service for just over 3 years ,but I had passed my Heavy Goods Vehicle driving test and was driving the Water Tender Ladder that day. A colleague,of many more years experience than me, was driving the Emergency Tender. I felt all the way there that I didnít want to hold him up.

The drive to Thorney, some 9 miles or so, seemed to take forever, especially in the wet conditions. But we got there and Iíll never forget the sight that met us.

The tail section of the aircraft was lying in a field at the side of the approach road, the Emergency Tender crew were detailed to check for radioactive substances in the tail. I proceeded as far as I could into the field containing the main wreckage, which had a crop of sugar beet in it, before we became bogged down in the wet muddy conditions.

From then on it was just a matter of carrying everything we needed from the appliances as best we could. As I remember, all the attending appliances got bogged down, some nearer than others to the actual incident.

After searching the site it became obvious that there would be no survivors and the image that I will always have with me is the view inside of what remained of the flight deck, with members of the crew inside.

Iíll never forget that.

After some hours the fire crews arrived from Mildenhall airbase, and we then prepared to leave, but that proved to be a problem as we were all stuck in the mud. We had to get a farmer to help to tow us all out onto solid ground using his tractor.

The atmosphere on the watch was very subdued for a while after that. It was a terrible tragedy, and although Iím retired now and living 60 miles from Peterborough, whenever I travel back that way, through Thorney, I always remember the events of that day.

Nigel Lettice (retired firefighter)
Dereham
Norfolk
UK

Here's a couple of photos of Nigel from back in the glory days.




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